Often, separating couples are unaware they have options when it comes to dissolving their marriage. The common view of a litigated divorce has pervaded the common consciousness as well as the media landscape. Not only do friends mention battling out their divorce in court, but TV shows and movies portray combative divorces as well. Many adults have experienced the effects of a litigated divorce as children and understand that often working together can lead to a better divorce.
One option for individuals interested in avoiding the courtroom is family law mediation. Mediation can be a useful way to sort out issues regarding custody, alimony, and even property. In addition, mediation can be useful for former spouses who need to make changes to their previous agreements. Rather than heading to court to alter a parenting plan as the children grow up, mediation can help parents craft a plan that meets their current and future needs.
What is Family Law Mediation?
Mediation is a form of dispute resolution that focuses on the participants. The goal is for the participants to create their own solutions. A mediator can help by providing information and suggestions and ensuring that everyone is being heard. A neutral mediator cannot offer therapy or legal advice, but they can provide you with other resources.
Those who have used mediation to settle their differences appreciate the ability to determine the solutions for their own problems. For many, the alternative is having a judge determine what should be done. While judges are skilled and knowledgeable, they will never know your situation and your family as well as you do.
Mediation is confidential. There are no public court documents as there is with any litigation.
Mediators are skilled in dispute resolution and understand how to help individuals communicate. They facilitate the process when necessary, however, the goal is really to have the participants lead the progress. During a mediation, only one mediator is present.Participants are free to seek outside legal counsel, though no one else can be present during the mediation unless both parties agree.
Generally, mediation is less expensive than taking an issue to court. Not only are parties working together, they are saving money by not engaging in the negative to and fro that litigation can bring out.
Mediation can lead to legally-binding documents such as a parenting plan. At the same time, it can also provide individuals with the tools they need to communicate better in the future.
Who Can Family Law Mediation Help?
Many individuals in dispute may benefit from mediation. In Family Law, mediation can help individuals who feel like their voices need to be heard in the process. Both parties must be willing to come to the table to discuss their issues. If one party decides that mediation is not appropriate, then an alternative must be selected. Mediation provides a space to negotiate and discuss problems while brainstorming possible solutions. While some issues may be very emotional in nature, the goal of mediation is to provide a safe space to have these conversations and begin to move on.
How Effective Is Family Law Mediation?
Because agreements are created by the individuals they affect, mediation results are frequently positive. When divorcing spouses or former partners work together to craft an agreement that considers the best interest of both parties, they are more likely to follow that agreement. Mediation agreements are generally viewed as “win-win”.
If you’re wondering whether family law mediation may be a good option for you, contact us today. At Quinn Law Firm, we’re committed to providing our clients with options so they can choose the best course of action. Not only is founder and managing partner Mary Quinn a skilled trial attorney, she is also a vocal proponent of mediation and collaborative divorce. Visit our website to learn more about the options available to you or schedule an appointment today.